I’ve been listening to two bands almost exclusively for the past week or two now. This isn’t particularly noteworthy; I tend to focus on one band and listen to one or two of their albums for a while, until I tire of them and move on the next obsession. It’s not uncommon for me to keep one CD in my car for weeks and listen to nothing else while I’m driving. What is unusual about these two bands is how completely different from each other they are.
The first is a technical death metal band called Nile. They have long been a favorite of mine, but recently they actually came to little old Rochester, NY and put on one of the most ferocious shows I’ve ever seen. As part of their 20th anniversary celebration, they played two sets; over two hours of raw, brutal, crushing metal. I had actually not given their most recent album, At The Gates of Sethu, much listen, so I popped that in my car’s CD player for a few days before the show to make sure I knew the songs.
And holy cow, I totally did not realize how great this record is! I still maintain that Those Whom The Gods Detest is slightly better, but this album kicks ass all over the place! Nile has definitely put more recognizable riffage into their songs lately, so the songs are not only heavy and brutal, but catchy as well! The following song, Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame, is pretty typical of the album.
If that doesn’t make you want to go out and hammer a tempo run or interval session, I don’t know what would! Excuse me, I’m going to go punch someone in the neck and sacrifice a goat or something.
Now, if you liked that song, you probably won’t like this next one. And if you hated that song and thought it made you feel icky, well, you’re in luck. As I mentioned, the two bands I’ve been listening to lately are polar opposites. For some reason, as I grabbed my Nile CDs, I saw two albums from another great band, Trampled by Turtles.
TBT is an alleged bluegrass band from Duluth, Minnesota. I say alleged because while they have the requisite instrumentation, they do not constrict themselves to playing typical bluegrass music. They are kind of like Nickel Creek in that they play boundary-less music, but are a little more Old Crow Medicine Show-esque in their amazing energy and lack of polish.
I have yet to see TBT, despite them playing nearby recently. So while I can’t comment on their live show, I can say that in the studio, they are amazing musicians. They are one of those bands that just sounds so tight and that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Some of their songs are every bit as frenetic and motivating as the above Nile song (see Risk, Don’t Look Down, or Wait So Long), but they create absolutely beautiful slower music as well. The second track on their most recent album, Stars and Satellites, is called Alone, and never fails to give me goosebumps. Just listen to this and tell me you don’t get a little misty-eyed around the 3-minute mark.